26 September 2023

Health report weighs the burden of disease

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The Department of Health has released a report shedding light on diseases and factors that impact the State’s health system.

In a statement, the Department said the Western Australian Burden of Disease Study 2015 was set to play a key role in efforts to build resilience and lift the health and wellbeing of Western Australians.

“Burden of disease is regarded as one of the most reliable means of assessing a population’s health,” the Department said.

“The report provides planners and policymakers with important insights into the impact of diseases and risk factors on a community, enables optimal health service planning for the population’s healthcare needs and helps to identify opportunities for preventative action.”

It said the report drew strongly on quality local data sources including the Hospital Morbidity Data Collection, Cancer Registry, Mental Health Information system, WA Health and Wellbeing Survey and the Busselton Health Study.

Minister for Health, Roger Cook said findings included that cancer was the group that contributed most to the State’s disease burden, accounting for 17 per cent of the load.

“It is followed by mental health and substance-use disorders that account for 13 per cent,” Mr Cook said.

“Across all age groups, males account for a higher burden of disease than females, and coronary heart disease is the individual disease causing the heaviest burden for the population.”

He said this was followed by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; back pain and problems; suicide and inflicted injuries; and depressive orders.

“COVID-19 has given many of us a new-found appreciation of the real importance of preventative health,” Mr Cook said.

“It has also reinforced the clear findings of our own Sustainable Health Review of the need to act early to avoid harms which, left unchecked, can be difficult to rein in,” he said.

The Department’s 19-page report can be accessed on this PS News link.

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